New Mexico Urban Homesteader

Hello, I am A 50 Something, Prepper ;-}; former 60's Flower Child, don't believe in taxpayer subsidized special interest groups (political parties), DO believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights (1st 10). Long time Independent & Informed Voter. Lover of the outdoors and firm believer that History Teaches - if only we will listen!

(No longer Urban or in NM. Now Rural in the mountains of Maine.)

This blog was started at the request of some dear friends that wish to become Preppers.

“No man who is not willing to help himself has any right to apply to his friends, or to the gods.”

Demosthenes (384–322 BC, Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Frugality - A Homesteading Preppers Way - Part 6

Frugality continued

Cardboard Boxes: I shop several times a year at a warehouse store and end up with quite a few of these.
  • • Make storage or recycle open top bins. Cover the box with old comics, aluminum foil, and decoupage with fabric or wrapping paper scraps. Line the inside with old plastic bags (shopping, garbage or whatever). Label the outside if you want. Now store whatever or start recycling.
  • • Use smaller boxes like shoe boxes for bio-degradable plant starter pots. Punch holes in the bottom for drainage. Line bottom with a sheet of newspaper. Add soil and seeds. About the time most seedlings are ready for planting the 'pot' is ready to disintegrate, so plant away!!! If you are starting your seedlings early on a cold to cool enclosed porch. Use an old Ziploc bag to cover the box and help keep them warm and frost free.
  • • For large appliance and furniture boxes see if there are any kids in the neighborhood who would like to 'play' with them. Show them how to turn a box into a fort, house, vehicle or cave by helping them decorate it with paint or magic marker. Use pieces of smaller boxes for wheels, etc. Then sit back, watch and have a few laughs!!! Be sure to take pictures. When it is all torn up, just recycle. At least you got a double use out of it first.
  • • These large boxes can be turned into hanging clothing storage boxes by notching the sides and adding a wooden dowel.
  • • Since these kinds of boxes are usually heavy duty cardboard, cut to the proper height, decorate the outside if you want and then use to contain shovels, rakes, hoes and other like items.
  • • Decorate shoe boxes and use to organize photos or trading cards. They make great sewing pattern holders too.
  • Spools of thread: These can be used to make a number of old fashioned toys.
  • • For toys they can be painted, covered with scrap cloth and strung together to make people, strung as beads for big clunky jewelry. Some types can be etched or carved into stamps that can be used with finger paint.
  • • Decorate them so they can be ornaments or garland for the tree.
  • • Many also make great bobbers for stick fishing poles.
  • • Create a floating line by stringing together and putting across a pool or stream to make a boundary for a game or just – “You can't go past this boundary” marker.
Old Clothing: We all have miss-matched or mate-less socks or socks with holes in them. Thin and holey t-shits, stretched out elastic shorts, pants and stuff. Don't throw them out.
  • • Socks make great hand puppets and stuffed animals. Additional socks, old t-shirts, underwear and fabric scraps also make great stuffing.
  • • T-shits and any cotton underwear make great cleaning rags or stuffing for toys, pillows and the like, even the pillow or pillow cover itself.
  • • Turn old jeans and shorts into tote bags or purses. I had a friend who put hangers inside some old shorts after sewing the leg bottoms together and turned it into a planter. She did some similar things with other old shirts, shorts and skirts and made them into her 'clothing' planter/garden boarder fence in her backyard. Another friend turned these into hanging wrapping paper, spice and canned goods holders.
  • • Get some old wood, add clothes, spray with any starch or waterproofing product, stuff add a hat, gloves and have a scarecrow, use as a backyard novelty/decoration if you don't have a garden.
  • • One friend of mine collects old clothing and cuts them into quilting squares and such and uses them to make the most marvelous quilts and cloth mosaic wall hangings.
Plastic bottles and jugs: Although we tend to try and avoid these, we still end up with way too many.
  • • Fill milk and juice jugs with water, sand or quickcrete, loop a string/rope thru the handle and tie to a tarp, pool or vehicle cover or anything else that needs to be weighed down.
  • • Fill gallon jugs with quickcrete to use as an anchor for canoes or small row boat.
  • • Cut the top off a jug to make the top wider, but don't cut the handle off. Makes a great scooper for dog food, dirt and sand or for snow when building snow forts.
  • • Punch a few holes in the bottom of a can or plastic bottle, decorate. Lay a strip of newspaper to bottom, add soil and a plant. You can even bolt a few different sizes together to have several plants in a planter grouping.
  • • Use the larger soda, milk and juice jugs by cutting the top off to the width of the jug then use as a miniature or single plant greenhouse for those early plantings.
  • Soup, vegetable and coffee cans: These can be made into a few interesting items.
  • • Take a metal or strong wooden pole about 4 feet long. Fill cans with quickcrete and insert to each end of pole. Let harden and you have a homemade weight bar. Smaller cans can be filled with quickcrete and used as hand weights.
  • • Use smaller cans to collect your grease. Put a hole in the bottom, put a string thru the hole and knot it. Seal with duct tape or wax. Add your grease drippings. Add some wild bird feed every once in awhile. When full, freeze. In the winter take out. Use a can opener or tin cutter to remove bottom and push the frozen grease out. Hang from a tree and watch the birds, squirrels and chipmunks. Note: If in bear country be sure place it far enough away from your back door.
  • • Kids can turn just about any size can into a pencil holder.
  • • Make an old time phone with two cans and some string for the kids.
  • • Make a wind chime out of several sizes of cans and a coat-hanger.
  • • Coffee cans with lids are great for storing nails, nuts, bolts and all kinds of things.
  • • Out of squat sized cans (pineapple) make a hot plate burner. Add rolled cardboard same height as can, put a wick in the middle and add melted wax. When the wax is set, light the wick, place under a foil pan and use to keep the food warm.
  • • Multiple sized cans can be turned into a Hobo Oven or Stove. Just do a search on the internet for instructions.
Outdoor planters and pots: Just about anything that can drain or have holes put in it to drain and hold dirt can be a planter or a plant pot.
  • • Old boots, shoes, cans, plastic containers: A child’s doll buggy or shopping cart; An old Tonka big boy dump truck; an old lunch box or even an old cloth lunch bag; Used pocketbooks, purses and tote bags; Old jewelry boxes; Old tires and hubcaps. Take a footstool that is too weak to hold weight, turn it upside down, weave old plastic bags together to form the sides; A drawer from a dresser or an old dresser or bookcase on its back. One friend bolted together a bunch of old hardcopy, hardback books to make a planter. You name it and it can probably be turned into a unique plant pot or planter for indoors or out. Use your imagination and save on trash.
The summer was a blast and we made lots of money. I bet you all have even more ideas to help us all shave a few dollars from our everyday expenses. Above all, these ideas will either save you money or make you money. So who cares about a little name calling, you get the last laugh on the way to the bank!

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